"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Monday, May 3, 2010

Giddy over gillyflowers.....

I love old fashioned flowers! In the last few years, the carnation or gillyflower has become a very favorite among them. This was always my mother's favorite flower but as a child I never gave it much thought. But have you ever really looked at one of these blooms?

It is beauty itself! I prefer the British simple small bloom which they refer to as pinks. I remember watching the Chelsea Flower show one year and a grower talked about how Americans have turned them into big blousey flowers. It makes you smile to hear how he described what some carnations have become but I do love the delicateness of a small, old fashioned pink.

As I walk past my table, I get the fresh clover scent of these little gems. The color is vibrant and yet there is also something very modest about these little flowers. Perhaps it is because it is a flower that has fallen out of favor over time as the modern world wants more dramatic flowers such a the rose or lily. But no...give me this unsung little blossom in a simple bouquet that cannot help but cheer you as you enter a room.

Did you know that carnations we used by the Greeks in ceremonial wreaths and garlands? The name is derived from 'corno' which means floral garland.

Or that the latin name Dianthus caryophyllus is because the Athenians honored carnations by calling them Di-anthos meaning 'flowers of jove'?

Or that Mary shed tears at the plight of Jesus and carnations sprang up from where her tears fell?

Or they are referred to as gillyflowers due to their clover like scent along with wallflowers, sweet William, sweet rocket, valerian among others?

Or they were an essential part of the ornamental Tudor garden?

"the fairest flowers o' the season
Are our carnations, and streak'd gilly-flowers"

~ William Shakespeare


Nancy said...

They are beautiful. We have pinks also.
I love the smell of carnations, and they last longer than any of the other flowers you cut. I can almost smell them from here.
Love you, Mom

Saskia said...

Hmmm, I want a english garden, should I put some carnations in then???.. I don't like them, never did. But maybe I can learn to like them, just like you did. You forgot our Dutch Prins Bernard, he had a white one on his lapel (is that the right word for 'revers')
See you Wednesday.
Ps. I finished my block....

Jenny said...

Heidi, Your pink carnations are lovely. Do you grow them in your garden? I have a member of their family in my garden....Sweet William. It can get really hot during the summer where we live, but my sweet williams just keep smiling. Flowers always make me smile... keep enjoying your pink carnations.

Elizabethd said...

I love them, and I love the old fashioned names for many of them. Mrs Sinkins, Granny's Pink, and others. They are worthy to be in any garden.

Linda said...

I love carnations, especially the little pinks which are so fragrant. When I was little we would buy white ones, put them in water with food coloring and they would drink the water and take on that color...it was fun. Thank you for reminding of a fond memory from so long ago...hugs, Linda

Roberta said...

Love flowers also, Heidi, my yard is a perpetual flower garden.

Love the colors of your bouquet.

Hope all is well. Take care


Mary said...

I've always loved carnations which we grew in the garden in England. Edging rows of delicate pinks, and the larger blooms in big clumps - guess they like the British climate! I must try some here.

How are things going with your move dear? I hope everything proceeds well and you will be settled soon.

I leave for Africa next week! I'll have no computer access for over two weeks but will check back with you after that. I'm excited and little nervous - it will be such an amazing adventure I'm certain.

Take care - hugs, Mary X

hazel c UK said...

Your carnations are a lovely colour Heidi, I have just potted on 2 dozen Dianthus which I have grown from seed for a gardening day I am helping with on Saturday, wish you lived nearer then I could give you some.

Happy gardening,
Hazel (UK)

DonnaTN said...

Carnations aren't a fancy flower but they certainly are pretty! Yours have a lovey color!

Tone said...

They are lovely!!
I have some small ones in my garden, or had...we`ll see when summer shows up. These flowers are usually used in funerals here in Norway - strange - how it has become "the funeral-flower..."

Yesterday we had zero degrees C here...and a LOT of snow!
I am so fed up with this spring-thing in Norway!

have a nice day!

Unknown said...

I love pinks. I had missed your post about buying a house. It's so exciting to move into a new place. It always takes me a few years to really get things the way I want them. I hope you sell your current home soon. Linda

Sonja said...

Mooie bloemetjes! En deze geven geen allergie-problemen?

Carolien said...

The colour of these ones are so pretty! They were also the favourites of André's mother.

Hugs & have a nice weekend,

angelasweby said...

Wow what interesting facts about this pretty and pungent smelling flower. I love pinks and their gorgeous colours and spicy fragrance. My mum grew lots of them on twiggy bendy stalks :>)
Who would have thought that they had such an interesting history Angela xx